Funding Cuts Reduce Service Delivery Options for the Homeless in the County - Fulton County will have to greatly reduce its service delivery options for the homeless within the County. The reason for the reduction is twofold: (1) a reduction in County-provided funding for homeless services, and (2) changes in Federal regulations concerning funding allocations and jurisdictional limitations on the provision of Homeless services. In January, funding for Homeless Services was reduced by $1.83 million with the adoption of the FY 2014 Budget. The County has funded emergency shelters for many years utilizing General Fund dollars. However, a budget shortfall resulted in many County programs and services receiving reductions.
In addition to reduced General Fund revenue, Fulton County‚Äôs funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) was impacted through the implementation of the HEARTH Act and dissolution of the former Tri-Jurisdictional Collaborative (Tri-J). The Tri-Jurisdictional Collaborative (Tri-J) previously consisted of the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fulton County who received collaborative funding for homeless services. This collaborative ended at the initiation of DeKalb County, followed by the City of Atlanta. While Fulton County requested continuation of this collaborative, or a period of transition, HUD ultimately approved the dissolution of the Tri-J. As a result, as required by federal law, each jurisdiction will now operate independently within their respective jurisdictional limits. Based on these limitations, Fulton County may only coordinate services in areas of Fulton County which are outside of the City of Atlanta.
Reductions to Homeless Services represented a loss of a total of 300 emergency shelter beds (150 for men 18 years and older and 150 for women and children). Those beds were at the County‚Äôs two shelters, Jefferson Place and Springdale Place. Additionally, the City of Atlanta has reduced funding to the Supportive Housing Grant Program by $683,000 which will be effective October 2014. As a result of the loss in funding, the County will cease operating their case management services at that time. This will also have a direct impact on case management services at Jefferson Place, Springdale Place, City of Refuge, and Odyssey Villas.
Fulton County has no intention of creating homelessness despite the reductions and limitations presented. Currently the County is in the process of facilitating a 180 day transition plan to relocate all current residents to other locations that can provide services. Neither shelter will be accepting new clients for those emergency beds. Fulton County will continue to operate a 50 bed transitional housing program, and a 23 unit Permanent Housing Program.